A LANCASTER man who has been sentenced to 500 lashes in Saudi Arabia may have to wait years to see if the sentence is carried out.

Human Rights group Amnesty International also say that they have had unconfirmed reports that Mr Hawkins and some of his colleagues have been mistreated in their Saudi prison.

Spokesman Neil Durkin said: "It is not a situation which is unfamiliar to us. The Saudi justice system moves slowly and in secret. These things can carry on for months or even stretch into years."

Mr Hawkins was convicted earlier this year of smuggling alcohol illegally. His sentence provoked an outcry and an official protest from the Foreign Office.